Most of us can probably agree that when it comes to things we can change for the better in this world, the list can feel a bit overwhelming. But luckily, the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the SDGs, can make some of the changes we so desperately need a bit less overwhelming and a bit more tangible.
Ever noticed 17 colorful little squares, each with their own icon, popping up here and there?
The Sustainable Development Goals are basically all about changing the world in 17 steps, creating better lives for all people, without compromising our planet. The Goals were established and adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a call-to-action for people, governments and businesses across the globe.
While many companies contribute to some of these goals in one way or another, we can’t help but admire companies that are walking that extra mile to contribute to the greater well-being of our planet and its inhabitants… A company we’re particularly loving in this regard is the Danish design firm Mater and if you are curious why, then keep reading…
Encouraging Sustainable Consumption and Production
SDG 12, Sustainable Consumption and Production is all about doing more and doing better with less.
Before the 17 SDGs ever saw the light of day, Mater decided to take matter into their own hands and show the world how beautiful furniture design and sustainability are not contradictory at all, quite the opposite actually.
The Copenhagen-based design company was founded in 2006 with a vision of combining exclusive, high-end furniture with working methods that support people, local craftmanship and the environment at the same time.
Reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink can all be considered keywords in Mater’s business model. All designs are made with a circular economy approach, this includes using recycled aluminium taken from old car parts, broken bicycle wheels and even little rusted metal objects. From these recycled (and other ethically sourced) materials, Mater create beautiful furniture that will last a lifetime or more.
With a circular production approach combined with a classic, minimalistic design with a distinctly Scandinavian aesthetic, it is safe to say that furniture from Mater most definitely do more with less.
Protecting Life on land
If you were asked to picture some of your heroes, trees might not be the first thing that comes to mind. That’s right, Trees. Trees are our heroes. They absorb CO2, they provide oxygen and they provide shade for our homes. That’s why we find SDG 5 “Life on land” particularly important as it’s all about protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of forests and ecosystems.
All wooden collections from Mater are made from FSC certified wood, meaning the trees are sustainably harvested and that great attention is given to preserving the forests and that regeneration and the long-term wellbeing of the forest is high on the agenda.
Besides FSC certified wood, a big part of Mater’s collection is also made of wood from the fast-growing mango tree. But why is mango wood more sustainable than other types of wood? Well, fundamentally, mango wood is a by-product of an already thriving industry of the mango fruit and once the tree stops bearing fruit it is felled, and a new tree is then planted in its place. Previously, the old mango trees were burnt or left to break down naturally in order not to pose any additional costs for farmers, but today the very same trees are given new life as beautiful tabletops. On top of that, the trees even provide an extra income for farmers.
Have a look at one of our all-time favorites, The Mater Bowl Table, below.
The Bowl table fuses traditional Indian craftsmanship with the simplicity of Scandinavian design. The table top, made of sustainably sourced mango wood, is turned on a lathe. This showcases the skill of Kharadi, an Indian wood-turning community and supports their local craftsmanship.
Protecting Life below Water
It is not only in terms of ethically sourced materials on land Mater is pushing the design industry towards a greener agenda. Goal 14 is all about converse and sustainably use the seas and oceans, and with this particular goal in mind, Mater launched the Ocean Collection in 2019.
In a nod to its materiality, the collection is largely made from Ocean plastic waste, including discarded fishing nets, trawls, ropes and other post-use plastic waste. The plastic waste is washed, dried and shredded before being made into little green pellets ready for reproduction. One single Ocean chair uses 960g of green pellets, which means that for each chair you buy, you help remove almost one kilogram of plastic waste from our oceans. As if this wasn’t enough, the Ocean Collection is designed for disassembly, meaning that the design allows each component in its purest form to recycle into new production circles, giving them eternal life.
What else do we love about the Ocean Collection? We absolutely love the fact that it is uncompromising, meaning it won’t give up ethics or aesthetics for the other.
If you don’t believe us, take a closer look on the Ocean Collection below: